Florida Senate - 2023                                     SB 524
       By Senator Rodriguez
       40-01023-23                                            2023524__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to native language assessments in
    3         public schools; amending s. 1003.435, F.S.; requiring
    4         that a high school equivalency examination
    5         administered in any language other than English be
    6         given the same weight as a high school equivalency
    7         examination administered in English; amending s.
    8         1008.22, F.S.; revising requirements of the statewide,
    9         standardized assessment program to include native
   10         language versions of related assessments; requiring
   11         school districts to administer native language
   12         versions of such assessments to certain English
   13         language learners and other students for whom it is
   14         appropriate; providing for the determination of when
   15         it is appropriate to administer native language
   16         versions of such assessments; requiring the Department
   17         of Education to create a timetable and action plan for
   18         the development and adoption of native language
   19         versions of the assessments; requiring the state to
   20         accept results on the high school equivalency
   21         examination from any language version of the
   22         examination; providing for the administration of
   23         standardized assessments; requiring the department to
   24         develop or identify content assessments in target
   25         languages; providing for the administration of content
   26         assessments in target languages in certain education
   27         programs; requiring the department to create a
   28         timetable and an action plan for the development and
   29         adoption of native language examinations; requiring
   30         the Commissioner of Education to identify alternative
   31         assessments and passing scores for a specified
   32         purpose; requiring the State Board of Education to
   33         approve by rule passing scores on alternative
   34         assessments; providing an effective date.
   36         WHEREAS, the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
   37  includes the purpose of assisting all English learners,
   38  including immigrant children and youth, in achieving at high
   39  levels in academic subjects so that all English learners can
   40  meet the same challenging state academic standards that all
   41  students are expected to meet, and
   42         WHEREAS, the ESSA requires states to make every effort to
   43  develop annual academic assessments in languages other than
   44  English which are present to a significant extent in the
   45  participating student population, and
   46         WHEREAS, Florida’s diversity of English language learners
   47  surpasses most states in the country, and
   48         WHEREAS, Florida is ranked third nationally in English
   49  language learner population and, although Spanish is the native
   50  language of the majority of these students, English language
   51  learners in this state speak more than 200 different languages,
   52  and
   53         WHEREAS, all students within this state should be given an
   54  equitable opportunity to study and learn subjects required for
   55  grade-to-grade progression and high school graduation, and
   56         WHEREAS, the current system of testing students for
   57  accountability purposes in a language that the students do not
   58  understand does not provide accurate information about how well
   59  English language learners are learning content area subjects,
   62  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   64         Section 1. Subsection (5) of section 1003.435, Florida
   65  Statutes, is amended to read:
   66         1003.435 High school equivalency diploma program.—
   67         (5) Each district school board shall develop, in
   68  cooperation with the area Florida College System institution
   69  board of trustees, a plan for the provision of advanced
   70  instruction for those students who attain satisfactory
   71  performance on the high school equivalency examination or the
   72  subject area examinations or who demonstrate through other means
   73  a readiness to engage in postsecondary-level academic work. The
   74  plan must shall include provisions for the equitable
   75  distribution of generated funds to cover personnel, maintenance,
   76  and other costs of offering the advanced instruction. Priority
   77  must shall be given to programs of advanced instruction offered
   78  in high school facilities. A high school equivalency examination
   79  administered in a language other than English must be given the
   80  same weight as a high school equivalency examination
   81  administered in English.
   82         Section 2. Present subsections (9) through (14) of section
   83  1008.22, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as subsections (10)
   84  through (15), respectively, paragraph (h) is added to subsection
   85  (3) and a new subsection (9) is added to that section, and
   86  paragraphs (a) and (d) of subsection (3) of that section are
   87  amended, to read:
   88         1008.22 Student assessment program for public schools.—
   90  Commissioner of Education shall design and implement a
   91  statewide, standardized assessment program aligned to the core
   92  curricular content established in the state academic standards.
   93  The commissioner also must develop or select and implement a
   94  common battery of assessment tools that will be used in all
   95  juvenile justice education programs in the state. These tools
   96  must accurately measure the core curricular content established
   97  in the state academic standards. Participation in the assessment
   98  program is mandatory for all school districts and all students
   99  attending public schools, including adult students seeking a
  100  standard high school diploma under s. 1003.4282 and students in
  101  Department of Juvenile Justice education programs, except as
  102  otherwise provided by law. If a student does not participate in
  103  the assessment program, the school district must notify the
  104  student’s parent and provide the parent with information
  105  regarding the implications of such nonparticipation. The
  106  statewide, standardized assessment program shall be designed and
  107  implemented as follows:
  108         (a) Statewide, standardized comprehensive assessments.—
  109         1. The statewide, standardized English Language Arts (ELA)
  110  assessments shall be administered to students in grades 3
  111  through 10. Retake opportunities for the grade 10 ELA assessment
  112  must be provided. Reading passages and writing prompts for ELA
  113  assessments shall incorporate grade-level core curricula content
  114  from social studies. The statewide, standardized Mathematics
  115  assessments shall be administered annually in grades 3 through
  116  8. The statewide, standardized Science assessment shall be
  117  administered annually at least once at the elementary and middle
  118  grades levels. In order to earn a standard high school diploma,
  119  a student who has not earned a passing score on the grade 10 ELA
  120  assessment must earn a passing score on the assessment retake or
  121  earn a concordant score as authorized under subsection (10) (9).
  122         2. Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, the end-of
  123  year comprehensive progress monitoring assessment administered
  124  pursuant to s. 1008.25(8)(b)2. is the statewide, standardized
  125  ELA assessment for students in grades 3 through 10 and the
  126  statewide, standardized Mathematics assessment for students in
  127  grades 3 through 8.
  128         (d) Students with disabilities; Florida Alternate
  129  Assessment; English language learners enrolled in dual language
  130  programs.—
  131         1. Each district school board must provide instruction to
  132  prepare students with disabilities in the core content knowledge
  133  and skills necessary for successful grade-to-grade progression
  134  and high school graduation.
  135         2. A student with a disability, as defined in s. 1007.02,
  136  for whom the individual education plan (IEP) team determines
  137  that the statewide, standardized assessments under this section
  138  cannot accurately measure the student’s abilities, taking into
  139  consideration all allowable accommodations, shall have
  140  assessment results waived for the purpose of receiving a course
  141  grade and a standard high school diploma. Such waiver shall be
  142  designated on the student’s transcript and. The statement of
  143  waiver shall be limited to a statement that performance on an
  144  assessment was waived for the purpose of receiving a course
  145  grade or a standard high school diploma, as applicable.
  146         3. The State Board of Education shall adopt rules, based
  147  upon recommendations of the commissioner, for the provision of
  148  assessment accommodations for students with disabilities and for
  149  students who have limited English proficiency.
  150         a. Accommodations that negate the validity of a statewide,
  151  standardized assessment are not allowed during the
  152  administration of the assessment. However, instructional
  153  accommodations are allowed in the classroom if identified in a
  154  student’s IEP. Students using instructional accommodations in
  155  the classroom that are not allowed on a statewide, standardized
  156  assessment may have assessment results waived if the IEP team
  157  determines that the assessment cannot accurately measure the
  158  student’s abilities.
  159         b. If a student is provided with instructional
  160  accommodations in the classroom that are not allowed as
  161  accommodations for statewide, standardized assessments, the
  162  district must inform the parent in writing and provide the
  163  parent with information regarding the impact on the student’s
  164  ability to meet expected performance levels. A parent must
  165  provide signed consent for a student to receive classroom
  166  instructional accommodations that would not be available or
  167  permitted on a statewide, standardized assessment and
  168  acknowledge in writing that he or she understands the
  169  implications of such instructional accommodations.
  170         c. If a student’s IEP states that online administration of
  171  a statewide, standardized assessment will significantly impair
  172  the student’s ability to perform, the assessment shall be
  173  administered in hard copy.
  174         d.(I) Each school district shall administer, as
  175  appropriate, native language versions of statewide, standardized
  176  assessments and EOC assessments to English language learners
  177  enrolled in dual language programs in elementary or middle
  178  school and for whom it is appropriate.
  179         (A) A parent of an English language learner enrolled in a
  180  dual language program in prekindergarten through grade 5 and a
  181  parent of a student with disabilities in any grade level may
  182  determine whether the administration of a native language
  183  version of a statewide, standardized assessment and EOC
  184  assessment is appropriate.
  185         (B) An English language learner enrolled in a dual language
  186  program in grades 6, 7, or 8 may determine whether the
  187  administration of a native language version of a statewide,
  188  standardized assessment and EOC assessment is appropriate. The
  189  parent of an English language learner enrolled in a dual
  190  language program in grades 6, 7, or 8 is entitled to prohibit
  191  his or her student from being administered the native language
  192  versions of the assessments.
  193         (II) The Department of Education shall develop a timetable
  194  and action plan to phase in the development and adoption of the
  195  native language assessments, beginning with assessments for the
  196  three most prevalent languages represented in the English
  197  language learner population within this state and with
  198  assessments required for high school graduation. The state shall
  199  accept results on the high school equivalency examination from
  200  any language version of the examination.
  201         4. For students with significant cognitive disabilities,
  202  the Department of Education shall provide for implementation of
  203  the Florida Alternate Assessment to accurately measure the core
  204  curricular content established in the state academic standards.
  205         (h) Content assessments in the target language of
  206  instruction.
  207         1. Statewide, standardized assessments in the target
  208  language identified or developed by the department must be
  209  administered annually for the target language to English
  210  language learners in dual language programs and bilingual
  211  education programs.
  212         2. The department shall develop a timetable and action plan
  213  to phase in the identification or development and adoption of
  214  native language examinations of achievement in the content areas
  215  taught through the target language, beginning with examinations
  216  in the most frequently taught content area in bilingual or dual
  217  language programs in public schools.
  219  commissioner shall identify alternative assessments and the
  220  respective passing scores to be offered in languages other than
  221  English which are appropriate for demonstrating the college
  222  readiness of English language learners. The passing scores on
  223  alternative assessments identified pursuant to this subsection
  224  must be approved by state board rule.
  225         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2023.